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Tell Your Own Story Project shares experiences of Arriving in Ireland

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Tell Your Own Story project –  International visitors of Culture Night 2021 at the Milk Market, Limerick City.

Tell Your Own Story Project shares experiences of Arriving in Ireland

By Asmaa Jazia Ghitri and Najla Lilya Jaballah

Tell Your Own Story project

A visiting student enjoying all that Limerick has to offer!


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In a series of ‘Tell Your Own Story’ articles, members of the media project interviewed international visitors of Culture Night 2021 at the Milk Market, Limerick City. Among them, four international students from diverse cultural backgrounds; Akshitha Tulachiparambil Rajan, Danielle Medina, Fakro Azari and Raji Moria Vatzadji, were invited to share stories of kindness that they had experienced since they arrived in Ireland. We are delighted to share their stories, with the ultimate impetus of promoting empathy and inclusivity across cultures.

Culture Night is a phenomenal event where both Irish and international visitors can showcase their own and experience other cultures. Following a notification from UL Global to celebrate this special Irish event which featured music, food, and fun, Akshitha, Danielle, Fakro and Raji were eager to contribute.

Akshitha from India describes her interest in taking part in the cultural event at the Milk Market saying, “I arrived in Ireland a week ago, and this is my first event, so I want to know about the culture.”

She commented on the difference between her culture and the Irish celebration on Culture Night. “I am from India, and it is completely different from what I see here because of the way they celebrate in Ireland!”

A Canadian business and event management student, Danielle was one of the participants at the event after her professors announced the need for volunteers at Culture Night. She revealed her motivation for showcasing her culture at the Milk Market, saying, “You want to take pride in your culture, and you want people to appreciate it and understand it versus just listening to stereotypes and having one image of it.”

Two Erasmus students at UL from Indonesia, Fakro and Raji, said, “This is our first Irish culture event since we arrived in Ireland and we are eager to see how Irish people represent their culture.”

Each of them chose to showcase their culture differently.

Fakro said, “I sometimes describe my culture with my roommates and friends by sharing each other’s currency. So, we can understand each other by doing that.”

While Raji selected food to demonstrate her cultural context. “I saw Limerick and Ireland, but the thing that I might show about my culture is our spicy food because I think people are going to love it here!”

She expressed her opinion about Irish gastronomy, saying “In my opinion, the food here is amazing, but they just need a bit more of a spicy flavour.”

Stories of Kindness

The international students expressed their deep gratitude towards the friendly nature of the Irish people. They were asked to share at least one story of their lives when they experienced an act of kindness since they arrived in Ireland.

Akshitha said, “Oh, I had left my laptop in the hotel, and the staff were accommodating in sending it back to me. So, as you know, I was baffled travelling around Ireland, but people are nice!”

Danielle also stated, “Before I came, I had my wisdom teeth taken out. So, I had some problems with it and had to go to the hospital when I was here.”

She continued, “One of the international representatives from my school offered to pay for the cab and constantly checked on me while I was in the hospital. After that, the cab driver took me to the pharmacy to get the stuff that I needed, and to have that kindness shown was appreciated.”

Fikro was amazed by the warm-hearted manners of the Shannonsiders. “The people are nice, they greet you when you are passing by, which is awesome! The locals also love to talk and to share their ideas. I love that!”

Raji also commented, “So, I met this guy at UL, and we were discussing the Castle styles in Ireland. Then, he offered to help me find a bicycle to stroll around Limerick city. Oh! My God! I was going to cry!”

The stories shared above by these international students reflect the uniqueness and the hospitality of Limerick people. Regardless of the students’ diverse backgrounds, they all value kindness and compassion in others. The TYOS community gives voice to both locals and internationals to highlight how fundamental human experiences are common to all cultures.

Do not hesitate to share your own story with Tell Your Own Story, as it will help to shape our society. Contact TYOS at [email protected].

For more info about the Tell Your Own Story project go HERE

To learn more about human rights charity Doras, go HERE 

About the Tell Your Own Story project:

The Tell Your Own Story project was initiated by Dr. Maria Rieder, Lecturer in Applied Linguistics at the University of Limerick.  The Tell Your Own Story project highlights that racism, stereotypes and discrimination are to a large degree caused by a lack of knowledge in the community of different cultures.

Information via the media often makes up for the lack of first-hand experiences of other cultures, however, often this is done in a fragmentary if not distorted fashion. Prolonged exposure to biased media content has the potential to cause highly automatic stereotypes and behaviours towards other cultures.

The Tell Your Own Story project aims to counteract these behaviours by encouraging people from diverse cultural backgrounds to tell their own story in the Irish media, rather than having it told by a journalist. The ultimate aim of Tell Your Own Story is to highlight how so many human experiences and cultural values are shared across cultures and to promote empathy and inclusivity in the wider community.

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the ilovelimerick.com concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.